RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 by Marv Wolfman, Pop Mhan, Lovern Kindzierski, and Saida Temofonte
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
This is a comic that thrives off of backstory and character development. It gives us some great moments and reveals, but isn't a stellar standalone issue overall. The plot of this miniseries is still developing, but the beautiful art is more than enough to keep us onboard. Besides, there's a cool leopard named Merlin who I like a lot.
86 %
Still Ramping Up

Three issues into the miniseries, RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 starts to pick up the pace, but just slightly. We get some backstory and consistently beautiful artwork, plus the characters develop a little more, though the plot seems stagnant. Even so, the book is on the right track, as you’ll see from the spoilers ahead.

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RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 Reveals Some Truths

This issue picks up exactly where the previous one left off. Raven is battling it out in the lab she discovered in issue #2. Some of the doctors and patients are involved in the scuffle, which includes some magic and soul-absorption, as Azure tortures the lab guards and Raven eases their suffering.

Raven flees and ends up coming out of Baron Winters’s fireplace, which really freaks him out. She’s forced to knock Merlin the leopard out, and Winters flees. As Raven searches his mansion for him, she passes through a door that takes her to San Francisco on April 8, 1906 — the day of an earthquake.

RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3
RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Raven springs into action and saves people, all while musing over the fact that she could just stay here and do this forever. However, she knows she needs to go back home. Rachel does so, returning to Winters’ mansion. She then confronts him, demanding to know what his game is. In searching his mind for answers, Raven discovers that her mother wasn’t the only mate her father had, and she wasn’t his only child.

Raven asks for more details, but Winters refuses. Raven then looks to Merlin, who has apparently been through a lot. Showing her his pain proves almost unbearable for the leopard. Raven find out that every woman her father had genetically modified and attempted to “mate with” proved “incapable.” He attempted to kill his “brides,” but some survived. Azure was just one of the victims of Trigon’s wrath.

Winters throws Raven back into the fireplace portal and extinguishes it, sending her back to the funeral of her friends’ grandmother. At the service, a shadow lurks in the background. It turns out to be Raven’s mother!

Going Back to Move Forward

It’s clear that this issue provides essential information to move the plot forward. That cannot be disputed. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s an excellent standalone issue. RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 is a comic that will read well in a trade, but it keeps the story rather stagnant in isolation. I wanted the pace and plot to pick up, but it really hasn’t.

RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3
RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The reveals are okay, if not contrived, but there’s decent character development. It was great to see Raven as a classic hero for a moment, and the backstory was interesting. What it will do to her moving forward will be especially exciting to witness. We also see more of Baron Winters, which was necessary for sure.

Honestly, this book did more for Merlin the leopard than anyone else. I really like that cat, and I want to see more of his story. Overall, though, it seems like the narrative took a step backward in order to move ahead. This is definitely a decent strategy and could be hugely beneficial to the overall series, and the book isn’t at all boring. It just isn’t exceptional.

Consistently Good Art

RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 is a treat to look at. Pop Mhan, Lovern Kindzierski, and Saida Temofonte continue to deliver excellent work issue after issue. Mhan’s handle on the uncanny is truly impressive, and the depictions of 1906 are extremely vibrant.

RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3
RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Temofone’s lettering continues to be impressive, as do Kindzierski’s colors. Both are loaded with subtleties and strokes of brilliance that add volumes to their work, even if you’re not looking out for them.

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This art team is creating a nearly visceral experience with the book, and they’re bringing this beloved character to life in a real way. You almost think that the next portal Raven will travel through will bring her from the pages of RAVEN: DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS #3 into our world.

I’m still waiting for the series to ramp up, but this installment, like the ones before it, is indeed promising. This may be the kind of series that finds its legs once each issue is out, but until then it’s a fun ride with a great character.

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